Thursday, March 19, 2015

THOUGHTS FROM ESCAPADE

Currently in Goodyear AZ (Low 55 Rain and Clouds High 80) 

We spent last week in Tucson at the 55th Escapade; a combination of fellowship with other members of the Escapees RV Club (aka SKPs), fun and education. A few observations:

Never underestimate the power of the Escapade curse. Long time readers will recall that this is probably the 3rd or 4th Escapade we have tried to attend. The M and M issues seemed to rear their heads, medical and mechanical, preventing our attendance. We got to the Escapade and parked and got setup.




We went to the opening ceremony and the evening entertainment, then the curse reared its ugly head. Jo got sick and was sick the rest of the time in Tucson and a couple of days after we got back to Goodyear. We saw the doctor immediately after we got back and he thought it was a stomach flu. Took about a week but it ran its course. We have learned to never underestimate the power of the Escapade curse :-(

Bob was able to attend most of the seminars and walked around the vendor floor although he did get dehydrated one day and had to take it easy, that dang ole curse again. He did experience a little satellite envy while walking around the roughly 850 rigs in attendance.



We just have the smaller one, we can honestly say we have not seen a dish that big on top of an RV before.

It was great to hear Kay Peterson (co-founder of the Escapees RV Club) in person but it was an absolute honor when Bob was able to meet her, even if only very briefly. As you can imagine she was swarmed wherever she went.

This was our first big rally after attending the Oregon Cascaders smaller rally last year. There was more to do at the big rally and lots of seminars to choose from but it seemed like Bob was always heading somewhere to the next thing. The smaller rally was more intimate and less hectic and will probably be our choice for the near future, considering the curse of course.

March Madness begins today so Bob will be a hermit for the next 4 days watching basketball games all day long. 16 games will be on TV today on 4 networks.




There will be 16 tomorrow and 8 games each on Saturday and Sunday. His brackets are filled out and he is ready for the best sporting event ever. His Iowa State Cyclones are in the tourney again and are the 2nd game this morning.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Monday, March 9, 2015

ON THE ROAD AGAIN - TO TUCSON ARIZONA

Currently in Tucson AZ (Low 48 Plenty of Sun High 78)

We left Goodyear yesterday and headed to Escapade in Tucson.


It was approximately 155 miles, here is the route we took.




Here we are parked in our 50a FHU site at the Pima County Fairgrounds, one of only four 50a sites available.



Here is to the left showing all the RVs and the mountains in the distance.




We attended the opening ceremony and the best thing was the talk by Kay Peterson, cofounder of the Escapees RV Club who gave a wonderfully funny talk. We had great entertainment last night, "The Rivoli Revue", if you ever get the chance to see them we highly recommend them. Best known for the youtube sensation of "Press 1 for English" they also spent a year in Branson and was named best new show and best female singer. But the open road beckoned and they hit the road again in their RV.

Today began with a full schedule of seminars and seeing the latest from the vendors. We also plan on stopping in and talking to the service department at La Mesa while here this week. Our plan is to be back in Goodyear on Friday. 

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Sunday, March 8, 2015

WHERE DID THE WINTER GO?

Currently in Goodyear AZ (Low 42 Currently Mostly Sunny 46)
Heading to Tucson AZ (Currently 49 Partly Sunny High 77) 

Where did the winter go? Or at least our winter, the Valley of the Sun winter :-)

This winter has been the winter of the new home. We put our life on hold for most of the winter either waiting for the delivery or getting the place organized. There were people we wanted to meet up with that we have not and things we thought we might do this winter. All for this



We did see a few movies and "American Sniper" was one of them.



We both thought it was an incredible movie and should have won more awards than it did. Bradley Cooper was amazing. When all the controversy erupted we decided not to blog about it at that time because we were afraid we would not be very civil to the idiots that were badmouthing the movie.

We are off to Tucson today for the Escapees Escapade, the annual gathering of the Escapees RV Club with seminars and vendors, entertainment and food.



We will be back in Goodyear on Friday and will be there until at least the end of March (more on that later).

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

SANDRA - "THE GREAT ORGANIZER"

Currently in Goodyear AZ (Low 42 Partly Cloudy High 63) 

We blogged earlier about Sandra, aka "The Cutest Cat Ever"



who now has a new nickname, "The Great Organizer". She has to be involved in everything that goes on in her home. You can imagine she has been real busy while her staff has been getting organized. She was in rare form while we were working on the storage behind our 50" television. The amount of storage there is amazing. 



Here is the TV pulled out on its mounting bracket to get at the storage area. JJ is also there to make sure we do it right.



Notice the blue tape around the round holes. 



We put it there so Sandra wouldn't go thru it. Long time readers will recall that she wedged her way into the much smaller hole cutout for the LP detector when Bob was replacing it. We had to help her get out. Well the blue tape did not work.



At least this time she was able to get herself back out.



We finally have most of the stuff in the Lifestyle organized thanks to Sandra and JJ. You don't see them here but they made sure Bob hung the hanger for the Dyson Animal vacuum cleaner and the fire extinguisher in the closet correctly.



A lot of the storage is the same as our Cameo so that helped. We did use this time to get rid of some stuff that we haven't used in 5 years. We hope to finish in a couple of days and then start having some fun again.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Monday, February 23, 2015

OLD AND NEW (BACK IN GOODYEAR)

Currently in Goodyear AZ (Low 50 Cloudy and Chance of Rain High 67) 

After over a week at Camp La Mesa we finally left for Goodyear last Thursday. Here is our old Cameo and new Lifestyle parked next to each other at La Mesa RV. We had water and electric at both sites.


It was nice to have the Cameo so we could move the cats there and spend the day while they worked on the Lifestyle. They picked up the Lifestyle in the morning and brought it back each evening Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

You are not going to believe this but another gremlin reared its head just as we were about to leave. Any guesses? That's right the trailer brake gremlin. We got ready to leave and tested the trailer brakes and there weren't any. Turns out this gremlin was easy to find, a cut electrical wire to the brakes that was fixed and we got on our way.

Even though longer and wider and heavier the Lifestyle towed nice but we still got bugs on the front cap :-)

We have been busy with getting our new place organized and running errands after spending more than a week at Camp La Mesa.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

STILL IN TUCSON (MORE OBSERVATIONS)

Currently in Tucson AZ (Low 45 Sunny and Nice High 73)

Believe it or not we are still in Tucson at the RV dealership. What has taken the most time has been the moving of our generator from the Cameo to the Lifestyle. We got here last Wednesday before noon and moved the cats, refrigerator and just enough to spend the night in the new Lifestyle. We did our walkthrough after they took the Cameo to take the generator out. We found a few small problems during our walkthrough. Took them the rest of the day to get the generator out. What we did not expect was that it took almost two days to put it in the Lifestyle. That meant we could do no moving and we had to spend Thursday night back in the Cameo. We got the Lifestyle back late Friday afternoon with some work still to be done. They don't work on the weekend plus we had no time to move with one or the other RV gone so we stayed here. They took the Lifestyle to the paint shop yesterday for some touchup and then worked on the other items. We will probably be here again today as they finish up some things. We "HOPE" to be heading back to Goodyear tomorrow. In the mean time some observations:

The stay in our old Cameo was like camping, we had to watch live TV for heaven's sake.

It was nice having the Cameo to put the cats in and we could relax in while they took the Lifestyle.

But it seemed like all we played was the waiting game, got all done in the Cameo that we could and then waited and waited.

Jo thinks she will need a nursing home after this. We both say this is our last move; we will be carried out of the Lifestyle feet first.

Living in it while at the dealership does have the benefit of really testing out all the features, we just found out this morning that the bedroom heat pump doesn't work so we added it to the list.

Sorry no pictures yet, we just found the camera yesterday.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Thursday, February 12, 2015

ONE NIGHT NEW, ONE NIGHT OLD

Currently in Tucson AZ (Low 50 Sunny and Windy High73)

We drove to Tucson yesterday for our walkthrough spending our first night in our new Lifestyle. Tonight we are back in the Cameo. Don't worry we like the Lifestyle but we have a lot to blog about later. For now some other observations.

Thought it would be less cluttered but you should see the Cameo tonight.

We feel a little like pingpong balls, we moved enough from the Cameo to spend the night in the Lifestyle yesterday so our generator could be taken out.

Today the generator was to be installed in the Lifestyle but it didn't get finished so we had to scramble to be able to sleep in the Cameo amongst the clutter.

Our cats were a little tense yesterday but finally settled down in time only to be moved back to the Cameo today while we were packing, hence the clutter.

The Lifestyle should be done tomorrow morning so we have another night at Camp La Mesa.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Saturday, February 7, 2015

SNOWBIRD CODE OF CONDUCT

Currently in Goodyear AZ (Low 48 Sunny High 77) 

It is an annual event here in the Valley of the Sun, an Arizona Republic article on the snowbirds. Some of it is thanks towards the visitors for all the money we bring but some of it is snarky about driving, crowds, etc. There even is the 'complaint' that we always seem to have a smile on our face. We thought we would update and publish our "Snowbird Code of Conduct" in response to this article.


During our stay in the Valley of the Sun we will try to only:

  • drive during the day during the week; leaving rush hour and the weekends to the locals.
  • eat out for breakfast or lunch during the day during the week; leaving evening and weekend meals to the locals. This leaves happy hours to the locals because it is hard to be happier than being retired and living in a nice warm place for the winter. We rarely eat out for supper because we don't like to drive after dark :-)
  • shop at Walmart and Target and grocery stores during the day during the week and never before a big holiday; leaving the evening hours and weekends to the locals for the big crowds and long lines.
  • go to movies during the day during the week; a few times we have been the only people in our movie of choice.
  • sightsee during the day during the week; generally not a problem because the locals never see the sights where they live anyway :-)
And finally, we always have a smile on our face; it is easy in this lifestyle, so what if it is one of their complaints.

We realize that if you are still working and driving in rush hour traffic, waiting in line to eat, suffering long lines at Wal-Mart that the locals need something to complain about. We know with our 'Snowbird Code of Conduct' they are not complaining about us.

We are heading to Tucson on Wednesday to pick up our new rig. We will take a couple of days there moving from one house to the other and then be back in Goodyear for the remainder of our stay here.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

WE ARE GETTING A NEW RIG, PART 3 (DAY TRIP TO SEE NEW RIG)

Currently in Goodyear AZ (Low 42 Sunny High 78) 

Now that the Super Bowl crowd has left our weather has turned from rainy to bright and sunny with above average temperatures. Weather was still better than either Seattle or Boston that is for sure but still not up to par for the winter here.

As we mentioned we got the call that our new home is at the dealership in Tucson. Since this is the third possible fifth wheel in our journey to a new home we decided to take a day trip to check it out and make sure that it had all the options we thought it was going to.

We didn't realize but this was the first time we saw all of our decor options; wood, leather, carpet, countertops, wallpaper, etc. in the same rig. We are so glad that we took this day to do this. We fell in love again with our new home. It has been a long and somewhat frustrating journey but we are back to feeling good about it. Here are some pictures taken with Jo's phone.




The dealership is working on getting the satellite dish and the stacked washer and dryer installed. We take our Cameo down there on Wednesday February 11th and do our walkthrough and begin moving in. We figure it will take us a couple of days and then we will be back in Goodyear.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Sunday, February 1, 2015

WE GOT THE CALL AND MOVIE UPDATE (INTO THE WOODS)

Currently in Goodyear AZ (Low 42 Foggy then Clearing High 67) 

We got the call we have been waiting for, our new home arrived in Tucson late last week. They will be doing their walkthrough and adding a satellite dish and a stacked washer dryer then we will be heading to do our walkthrough and the big move. This is great news and saves Bob a call to the factory on Monday.

We see a lot of movies while here for the winter and we recently saw "Into the Woods".



First of all for those who are thinking about seeing it here is one key thing to know, it is a musical! The first few trailers we saw did not have any singing at all. We had some friends attend it before we did and they mentioned the music was wonderful, so we were fully prepared. The music and songs by Steven Sondheim were very good.

"Into the Woods" does a twist on the beloved Brothers Grimm fairy tales like the television show "Once Upon a Time" by combining the characters from the classic tales of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Rapunzel into a single original story. The combining factors are a baker and his wife, their wish to begin a family and their interaction with a witch, played by Meryl Streep, who has put a curse on them.

This movie contains one of the best lines we think we have heard as uttered by Christopher Pine playing Cinderella's prince who says, "I was taught to be charming, not sincere". Sounds like our politicians doesn't it?

If you like fantasy, fairy tales and music you will really like this movie. If you don't, stay home.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Thursday, January 29, 2015

THOUGHT WE WOULD HAVE HEARD BY NOW

Currently in Goodyear AZ (Low 50 Cloudy High 65) 

We still do not know anything more about our new home. The lack of communication with this dealer is horrendous. We have emailed and made numerous calls and talked to just about everybody there, including the general manager, and yet we still get nothing except a promise to call back no matter what they find out, so many broken promises. We cannot recommend this dealership to anybody, it unfortunately is fairly common that you have to beg, plead and cajole just to get good service.

We thought we would have heard by now and we would have blogged on it along with our visit to Quartzsite so here goes our recent visit to Q. We took a day trip from Goodyear and no matter how often we take the trip it still is amazing to see the vast numbers of RVs as you come over the hill. It was so windy that we didn't want to have sand covered food so we ate at a sit down place called Times 3. The food was real good but the service was real sloooooow. The traffic was bad as usual.



The big tent was packed. We got some shoe inserts, pillows and mustard.



We got some ice cream at Dairy Queen on the way out of town. A great day had by all.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

THE GAMBLER, HAIL DAMAGE REPAIR

Currently in Goodyear AZ (Low 42 Mostly Sunny High 70) 

We recently saw the movie "The Gambler".



We liked this movie but it is not one that we can recommend because it not a great subject matter plus it is kind of dark and moody. The theme of the movie is 'the only way out is all in' and it deals with the character played by Mark Wahlberg and his addiction to gambling.

Sometimes you go to movies and enjoy the performances. Both Wahlberg and John Goodman were really good in it, although in one scene Goodman really needed a large towel. Those who see the movie will understand.

We are getting the damage to our truck due to hail damage fixed this week. We got hit by hail in the Denver area in September and did not realize how bad it was until we had a mobile repair company give us an estimate. There are so many dents that they needed the truck in the shop for a few days. We are now driving a rental car, a Chrysler 200.


It feels like we are riding on a skate board. We are so used to be riding high in the truck and seeing over other vehicles. We are also used to the great mirrors of the truck, these little side mirrors are hard to get used to. It should only be a few days that we are skating along.

We did get a call Monday on our new fifth wheel. It is supposed to ship late this week and be in Tucson next week. They will need some time to do their walkthrough and add the satellite dish and washer/dryer so we are looking at the first of February to get our new home. We'll keep you posted.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Sunday, January 18, 2015

A GREAT DAY AND DIESEL PRICES

Currently in Goodyear AZ (Low 42 Sunny High 74) 

We had a great day in the desert Saturday. We started it off at the Estrella Lakeside Farmers Market. It is held at the Yacht Club on Estrella Lake south of us.



We walked around and bought a few things but mostly enjoyed the great weather, mid 70s and sunny with a light breeze. We then left and shopped at Fry's Grocery. For one day only they were having a 4x fuel points on gift card purchases, $25 gets you 100 fuel points which gets you 10 cents off a gallon. We bought gift cards for places we normally eat at and bought some groceries. With our discount of 50 cents per gallon here is the price we paid.



The discount is limited to 35 gallons so this is what we paid, adding whatever would not fit into the truck tank into our auxiliary fuel tank.



A great day, shopping and diesel like we haven't seen in a long time, even if we had to buy gift cards to get there.

We couldn't take it anymore and called our salesman on our rig. There was a delay at the factory due to snow and he thought somebody else would call me. Monday we are supposed to get a phone call and a list of options to make sure we are getting what we think we are, we will let you know.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Thursday, January 15, 2015

UNBROKEN

Currently in Goodyear AZ (Low 38 Sunny High 68) 

We recently saw the movie 'Unbroken'.



The amazing true story of Louie Zamperini who was an Olympic athlete then a WW II Army Air Corps bombardier captured by the Japanese. The movie details his less than stellar youth and how he turned that around and into an Olympic athlete competing in the 1936 Olympics (he finished 8th in the 5,000 but his last lap was the fastest ever and that record stood for a number of years). 

The movie gets a little gruesome with his capture and treatment by the Japanese and ends with him being set free. For us the movie ended a little too soon. He was unbroken by the Japanese but did not let that situation embitter him. He turned his life around, became a Christian motivational speaker and forgave his captors. He even traveled to Japan to visit the war criminals in prison hugging and forgiving those who acknowledged that they knew him. In 1988 he ran with the Olympic torch in Japan before the Nagano Olympics. To be fair some of this was covered in the film, but nothing about the Christian aspect and only in the credits, there should have been more.

We recommend this movie, even with the brutal treatment depicted.

We surprisingly have no update on when we will be getting our new fifth wheel. We got the call over a week ago that it was on its way but all calls after that requesting an update have not been returned.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Thursday, January 8, 2015

OUR LAST TRIP TO THE MUSEUM

Currently in Goodyear AZ (Low 48 Partly Sunny High 68) 

We recently took our last trip to the Museum. We saw "Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb".



The third installment of the Ben Stiller films where he is a night watchman at a museum where the exhibits come to life at night time. During this movie we find out what the secret of the tomb is and how it causes this behavior. The magic was disappearing so the secret had to be learned so they could reverse it. The three movies were certainly not academy award winners but they were good fun.

More than just the last movie in this series it was also the last movie for screen legend Mickey Rooney and for Robin Williams. We will miss all of them.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

WE ARE GETTING A NEW FIVER, PART 2

Currently in Goodyear AZ (Low 37 Sunny High 68) 

We got some news yesterday, our new home is on its way to Arizona so we thought we might show some photos. Here are shots of our new home from the web, first the floorplan




The interior








Lots of storage






Bob's friend from college Mike photoshopped the photo of us at Yosemite and the new Lifestyle, we think we are going to use this for our business cards.



We are anxious for our new home, the likely date is now January 14th to take our Cameo there and move into our new home

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Saturday, January 3, 2015

WINDOWS 8 AND THE YOGA LAPTOP/TABLET

Currently in Goodyear AZ (Low 28 Sunny High 58) 

As previously mentioned we have had a lot of changes lately. One of those was a new computer and a new operating system. We have been leery of Windows 8 for awhile but our old laptop was on its last legs so we figured it was time. We got a Yoga laptop/tablet with Windows 8.1. The Yoga is a fold-able device 





that can be a laptop.





A tablet



In stand mode.





For the most part we are impressed with the Yoga. Bob uses it in desktop mode in the morning for blog, email, etc. Then at night while watching TV it is in tablet mode. Windows 8 has not been as bad as we thought although there a few quirks that require a restart but the machine is so fast that doesn't matter much. The virus scanning now takes minutes instead of hours. What we use the Yoga for (Chrome Browser, Quicken, Outlook) it seems like we are in the earlier Windows mode a lot more than Windows 8. The Windows 8 screen has a button to get you into this earlier Windows mode at a click. Plus you can add the above programs to the Windows mode start screen or the Windows mode taskbar. Here is that look and feel on our new Yoga.




With a fully featured browser there is not the need for a lot of apps like you would in an android device. It was one of the easiest transitions from one computer to another that we have had in a long time.

Till next time

Bob and Jo

Thursday, January 1, 2015

HAPPY NEW YEAR! - 2014 YEAR IN REVIEW


Currently in Goodyear AZ (Low 31 Mostly Sunny High 46)

Happy New Year! What a year we had! It was another year of adventures both planned and unplanned. Here is a brief summary of what has happened in our lives in 2014.

We spent last Christmas in our winter spot in Goodyear Arizona just west of Phoenix leaving in early April for the Lake Havasu Arizona area. Again this year we were able to check off a lot from our bucket list on our trip along the west coast circling back to Goodyear. We celebrated our 5th year of living fulltime in an RV in September. Among the bucket list items were the London Bridge, Da Vinci Exhibit, Reagan Presidential Library, Hearst Castle, saw a grizzly bear, saw bighorn sheep, Buffalo Bill gravesite, Mother Cabrini Shrine, and we saw a crested saguaro.





We also visited a number of National Parks (every National Park is on our bucket list); Joshua Tree, Kings Canyon, Sequoia, Yosemite, Lassen Volcanic, Crater Lake, Mount Rainier, Mount St. Helens and Glacier.






We were along the coast for some great scenery, lighthouses and seafood in Morro Bay California, Moss Landing California, North Bend Oregon, Newport Oregon, and Long Beach Washington. 










We also attended our first RV Rally, the Oregon Cascaders Rally in Westfir Oregon. Another first was lot sitting at Escapees North Ranch where we did ATVng in the desert, target shooting, crested saguaro, etc. We added California, Oregon and Washington to our map of visited states. These were the planned adventures.

What we did not plan on was some maintenance issues that caused some distress and time delays. Our old nemesis the dining room slideout problems reared its ugly head again this year. While staying at the Emigrant Lake Recreation Area near Ashland Oregon we needed a new gear and this time we were able to make the modification that Bob read about on the internet. The slideout worked the rest of the year. We had a new nemesis this year, no trailer brakes. Long story short is that we would replace something and it would work for awhile, then replace something else and so on. Finally in Albuquerque New Mexico we found that the wire that ran along the axle from one set of brakes to the other had worn down to bare wire and was shorting out. We have had trailer brakes since then. Finally we had some hail damage while in Colorado.

Every year we jam a lifetime of vacations into one year but there is still so much more to see and do. This year we plan on heading to Maine for summer then work our way down the east coast to Florida for the winter adding a number of visited states.
We hope everyone has a Happy New Year!

Till next time,

Bob and Jo